May 10, 2012

Leading into the Unknown – Part II

In the first post about Leading into the Unknown, I discussed three areas where leaders must excel; being authentic, having both physical and psychological stamina, and being adaptable in their thinking.  Now, consider with me three more areas that are imperative for leaders to flourish in today’s constantly changing world.

The ability to inspire – The days of positional power being the reason why staff follows and is influenced by a leader is fading away.  Positional power, like much of the antiquated compensation structures that still exist, only take a company so far.  Think about those in history that were known as great leaders and what it was that caused them to become recognized as such.  In this list, you may not agree with some of the philosophies or end result they were after, but that they were great leaders is self-evident; Jesus Christ, Mohammad, Alexander the Great, Christopher Columbus, and Aristotle, to name just a few.  Each had clarity of vision.  Just as important, they were able to communicate that vision so that others clearly understood their vision so their one-on-one and public speaking skills were well-honed.  Then, they followed up their vision by making decisions and behaving congruently with that vision.  What ultimately happened was they they created trust and credibility so that people, in some cases, followed them to the end of the world and even death.

A passion for learning – When it comes to learning, are you green and growing or ripe and rotten, depending on past knowledge to sustain you today?  Leaders are constantly looked to for advice, decisions, counseling of all types, psychology, and more.  If you don’t constantly and consistently fill your reservoir of knowledge, you will soon become empty, with nothing more to give or to be able to offer new and leading information.  It’s important that leaders follow this pattern for learning so that they are focused on learning the right information; define, measure, analyze, improve, and control.  This will ensure you have a deep well of knowledge and that you’re a thought-leader.

Being collaborative – You can’t know or be an expert in everything.  Leaders look to surround themselves with people that are smarter than they are and that have complimentary talents and skills.  Being willing and able to collaborate through strong interpersonal skills and to be able to express thoughts, beliefs and feelings in an assertive, not aggressive, manner is a tool leaders must use to meet the pace of change.

How will you use these six tips to be successful in leading into the unknown, keeping up with the speed of change in business?  Please feel free to download the attached spreadsheet that has a very simple self-assessment.  Be honest with yourself on how you’re doing in each of the six areas discussed in the two-part series “Leading into the Unknown”.  If you really want to know how you’re doing in those areas, have some peers, direct reports and the person you report to fill it out on how they think you’re doing.  Then, compare how you rated yourself with how the others rated you.  It may be eye-opening.  Have fun!

Leading into the Unknown

In the next post, I’ll talk about one of the true leaders from history and what made them centuries ahead of their time.

Creating forward motion,

Dr. Edward Lewellen

One Response to “Leading into the Unknown – Part II”

  1. Jerry M. says:

    This is great information! Keep it up!

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